It’s Prayer. That’s the thing. (By Beth Moore)

It’s Prayer. That’s the thing.

This blog post by Beth Moore really got me. 

I will do just about anything or everything else before I will pray. That is one of the ugliest confessions about myself, but it’s true. 

I can do and live and function in every other arena of life and wear a partial (or full) mask – but not when it comes to prayer.  I cannot fake prayer, and that is good and also terrifying.  I guess that is why I can (and do) immerse myself in other tasks or distractions and even in Bible reading and study before prayer.

And yet, I have been living for years with the God-given revelation that some areas of my life, some areas of my mind, some areas of ME will NOT change unless they are bathed in prayer.

And yet I’m still inconsistent and reluctant in prayer.

What’s wrong with me?

And I feel extreme guilt.

And then when I do pray, I can’t just “pick up where I left off” because where I left off might have been 12 days ago (shocking, terrible, I know!) so then my prayer (I feel like) has to have this long preamble just to catch up to where I am in that very moment when I yielded myself to the Holy Spirit’s nudging to prayer.

The times when I seem to give-in without delay and yield to an unction to pray is when I feel either completely overwhelmed or on the verge of dispair.

I am too independant.

I shoulder my burdens most of the time all by myself and that shouldn’t be so.

Oh, I go through seasons where my prayer life is much more consistent – but I can’t recall a time where a season lasted longer than a month.

The pattern seems to be that I fall away from prayer when I know I have unconfessed / unrepented sin in my life / heart — or (even more grotesque honesty), I’m not ready to turn away from that sin, so I have the guilt of the sin, then the guilt over not wanting to be rid of the sin and then the guilt about not praying about either of those problems.  

And I usually try to end my posts on some sort of a final note.  I don’t have one to offer of my own words because clearly I’m struggling and deficient in this area, but this came to mind:

“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” ~ Hebrews 4:16 HCSB

  

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Scripture Memorization Initiative: Verse #4

Confession: the first three verses were not that hard.  Adding a fourth without forgetting verses one thru three…pretty hard.

Maybe that’s why I only got this far when I tried to do this in 2013.

But, my confession continues: it’s probably hard because I’m only spending a few minutes each week reading and saying my verses.

In 2010, I had great success with Bible verse memorization because I recorded myself speaking verses onto a small, handheld, digital recorder and during my commute to and from work, I would play back my recordings and work on getting the verses down pat.  I racked up probably twenty verses that I could quote with ease – and many of them I still can.  During late 2010 and early 2011, I was immersed in the Word a lot and The Lord was making Himself easily found by me.  It was a sweet season.

But, I digress, my choice for verse four is:

“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” ~ Psalm 139:16 HCSB

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I chose this verse because in a conversation with a dear lady and new friend from church, she quoted this Bible verse and explained that this verse changed how she began to pray for herself and the day ahead of her.  She said, “Now I pray, ‘Lord, let me walk out what you’ve already written. I want to be on the page of the book that You’ve written for my life.'”

That was so profound to me that I came home and looked up the verse and it felt like a rhema word for me so I chose it for my memory verse.

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Cherishing Disappointment

I’ve been thinking about disappointment lately.  Not the kind that I’ve experienced, but disappointment that others have experienced, and in some cases as a result of my behavior or choices.

The dictionary defines disappoint as: to fail to satisfy the hope, desire or expectations of.

It has been five years since the last time I saw or spoke to my father.  He wrote me a letter in 2010 detailing the ways in which I have disappointed him by my choices and the direction my life has gone.  Since that letter, he has ignored all of my attempts to contact him.

For my father has forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. ~Psalm 27:10

Last summer a girlfriend believed that I was not handling a trial {a trying set of circumstances} in a spiritually mature fashion.  She rebuked me verbally and followed it up with an email which laid out biblical principles to support her position.  Without seeking a response or understanding from me, she went on to withdraw her presence and companionship from my life.

Love is ever-ready to believe the best of every person. ~ I Corinthians 13:7 Amplified

Yesterday I received a curt email from a former co-worker and friend who insomuch inferred that he felt slighted that I did not reply to an email he had sent; {I wrote him nine days later, but did not click reply, instead I created a new message and apparently I did not address or respond to all he had written}.  Additionally, during those nine days, he decided to simplify his life and included me in a major Facebook un-friending edit.

Love is not touchy. ~ I Corinthians 13:5 Amplified

Hurt feelings.

Offense.

Perceived slights.

Disappointment.

Unmet expectations.

Sheesh, it’s everywhere… and I’m sick of it.

Is disappointment really something that we should be holding on to?  Should we be cherishing it to the point that we back away or cut people out of our lives?  And if we do back away or withdraw from that friendship or relationship, are we doing it because we fear being hurt or disappointed again, or are we trying to punish that person?

In all three of the scenarios I mentioned above, I felt as thought I was {in part} being punished.

I copied this down from something that Beth Moore published either on her blog or Twitter: “If we insist on nurturing and coddling our disappointment rather than moving on through it, it can burgeon into a full blown identity.  We end up wearing a sign that says, ‘I am so disappointed’, and we will be and continue to be, and people will back away one by one.  Write a new sign: Romans 5:5”

So we can either insist and persist in disappointment, or we can move on through it.

One big problem of holding on to disappointment: you fail to realize your ability to disappoint people yourself.  If you’re so busy holding on to and defending why you were let down by so-and-so, your perspective does not include the humility needed to realize you are equally capable of letting someone down.

I have no control over anyone else but me.  So, in light of all that I’ve written and all that I’m processing & pondering in my heart, I think one of the best things I can do is to come away from this prayerfully asking The Lord to help me not be the kind of person who cherishes disappointment.

This morning while driving to work, I was thinking about people that are not in my life anymore.  And the Holy Spirit reminded me that The Lord will prune relationships that are not bearing fruit.  And then my perspective shifted a bit to consider that maybe instead of fearing that I’m missing out, it is a gift that I’m missing out.  What additional heartache might The Lord’s pruning be sparing me from?

“Don’t be discouraged when people let you down.  The disappointment of man might just be God’s divine appointment for your life.” ~Joseph Prince

Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 3 Great Moment

I couldn’t keep up with blogging about each episode, but I just had to recognize this moment from episode three.

Lady Mary explaining that she won’t be rushed into an engagement with Lord Gillingham (despite having just returned from a five-day escapade with him!)

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The many faces of the Dowager Countess.

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GrandMama Violet always has the best lines.

“In my day, a lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction until she had been instructed to do so by her MaMa.”

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Scripture Memorization Initiative: Verses #2 and #3

The second verse I chose to memorize was:

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Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. ~ Psalm 116:7

I wanted something simple yet powerful to meditate on while I went to doctor’s appointments, faced a blood draw, IV and surgery.

Indeed the Lord has been good to me.  Today was my post-op doctor’s appointment where I received excellent news.  There were no cancer, pre-cancer or abnormal cells found in any of the tissue removed during surgery.  None.  Completely clear.

I thank and praise The Lord for this huge answer to prayer.  But, it was actually the very small errand that I ran after my doctor’s appointment that made me realize how ever-present and aware God is of me.  I needed to get a bulb replaced in my car’s headlamp.  My cell phone battery was dead so I couldn’t use Siri to supply me with directions to the car dealership.  I knew where I was.  I knew where the dealership was, but I didn’t know how to get from one place to the other.  Sounds silly I know, but I didn’t know the shortest or best route, just a really long circular way.  So, I set out driving and made a left turn and then a right to get off of small side streets and onto larger thorough-fares.  When after only a few minutes of driving what do I see?  A Honda sign.  A Honda service center, a satellite location, under the same umbrella of ownership as the dealership I always go to.  I never knew it was there.  I had only driven minutes from the doctor’s office, instead of the 45 minutes I had originally intended.

And this story may seem so pointless to anyone else, but in that moment, I felt very SEEN by my God.  In my gray Honda driving down Fairbanks Avenue, God in Heaven sees me and is aware of all of my needs.  Even when it’s just to get a headlight changed.

The third verse that I have chosen to memorize is:

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Consider Him, who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. ~ Hebrews 12:3

This world will make you weary.  This world can make you lose heart.  Last week I was reading and this verse jumped out at me.  I don’t know if I ever read it before.

Consider Him.

Consider Jesus.

January Recap

It appears as though 2015 is determined to move along just as fast as 2014.  January has sped by, but it was a very good month.  Funny, at times during the month I would not have described it as a good month, but now, hours away from February, my perspective has changed.

The second Scripture verse I set out to memorize this month is Psalm 116:7.  I chose it specifically so that I would have something simple, brief, yet powerful to meditate on while undergoing doctor’s appointments, lab work and surgery.

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I had surgery on the 21st and I feel much better on the other side of the procedure.  I confess to complaining, worrying and altogether resenting this interruption to my version of normal life.  I saw it as inconvenient, expensive and unwanted.  But really, I’m privileged and blessed to have healthcare available to me.  I also have a new, kind doctor who brings a fresh set of eyes to my case and is suggesting treatment no other doctor has ever suggested before.  I have every reason to believe that this whole ordeal (which started at the beginning of December) is the beginning of better, ongoing health for me.

Having surgery brought about a major, unexpected blessing: my Colorado BFF came into town to stay with me and care for me.  Her plane ticket was purchased a mere eight days in advance, so it was a definite surprise.  We had the best time together and I cried when I dropped her off at the airport.  We were together for five days, had makeup on for two of those days and never stopped to take a picture except for this selfie at airport curbside check-in at 5AM!

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Deb was in town over a Sunday and therefore she got to partake in one of the highlights of my week: Downton Abbey on PBS.  We decided to go all out, order Chinese delivery and watch the show with our PJ’s on while sitting in my bed with our dinner on trays.  It was utterly delightful.

I haven’t written about Downton since episode one, so here’s just some of my thoughts, so far.  I’m disappointed in Lady Mary.  I think she’s making a real mess of things and it was in such poor taste go out to dinner with Mr. Blake and speak of Lord Gillingham.  Tacky.  I also felt it was quite inappropriate to task Anna with purchasing contraceptives and now to store them / it in her cottage.  Mr. Bates is going to find them / it, and question his wife.  Anna deserves better than that.  The investigation into the death of Alex Green is far from over and previews of upcoming episodes make it appear as though Anna is fingered for it.  If it goes in that direction, I believe the rape will come out and how things unfold from there is anyone’s guess.  I don’t know what Thomas is up to, but it’s no good.  And then there’s Miss Bunting.  {Bates, could you push Miss Bunting in front of a trolley car, please?}  My complaints regarding Miss Bunting are too many to name, but my overarching issue with it all is that I don’t really know how Tom feels about her.  Rose seems to be the one orchestrating all of the invites… Does Tom really enjoy her company?  You don’t expect me to believe that Tom is not embarrassed by her rude behavior?  Edith is a mess and for the first time in a while, she referenced new information concerning the whereabouts of Gregson.  Is he going to resurface as a ‘brown shirt’?  And lastly, Isobelle.  The marriage proposal by Lord Merton was so genuine, so touching, I truly hope she accepts.  I love Isobelle’s character and I want to see good things come her way.

Also, before I forget, congratulations to Joanne Froggat for her Golden Globe win!  She won for her portrayal of Anna Bates during season 4.  Well done and well deserved!

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This little pic landed on Twitter.  Fish lips.  Cute.

Downton was nominated for “Best TV Series: Drama” but did not win.  Also, the ever-fabulous James Spader was nominated for his portrayal of Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist, but he didn’t win either.  Instead, Kevin Spacey took it for House of Cards.

My car got four new tires and it’s first car wash since the summer of 2013.  That’s embarrassing.

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A duck has built a nest barely ten feet from my front door.  We started with three eggs.  Then day by day, it grew to 18 eggs.

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Now, in the mornings, Mama Duck is sitting on the eggs, but before this week, I hadn’t seen her at all.  Dad hangs around my building quite frequently though and I’ve even fed him bread before.

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January wrapped up with a job interview for one of the best positions I’ve ever interviewed for; and even better than the position, it’s working for a Christian ministry.  To say I want this job is an understatement.  I pray an offer comes my way this upcoming week.

No matter what, I rest in the sovereignty of God.

It’s also been one month since my Beau had a health crisis which landed him at the emergency animal hospital.  I really thought this was the end, but I guess not.  Are you on life eight or nine, Beau?

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Be at rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.